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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Oxygene8

freak of chance

Review by Gary Hill

This is not your Father’s progressive rock. Indeed, there are probably those who wouldn’t think of it as prog rock at all. But it uses the Stick, which is definitely a prog rock oriented instrument and it has a lot of ties to more modern King Crimson. There are times where they wander into odd space music and this has elements of beat poetry and alternative rock all merged in one unique conglomeration. It’s a cool CD that’s really unlike anything you’ve ever heard before. The only complaint is, it’s just an EP so rather short.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2008  Volume 3 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Close your eyes
This has a cool atmospheric element to it and seems to swirl and spin around, careening this way and that, feeling a lot like moody prog from bands like Porcupine Tree. You might also pick up on some Pink Floyd in the mix here.
No different but not the same
I’m not so sure about the prog label on this track. This feels almost like something you might hear on pop radio, you know the hard rocking, but still poppy, female vocalist type of music. It’s catchy and only really the overlayers show off the group’s prog tendencies for the majority of the track.  Late in the piece there is a swirling sort of vocal arrangement and then Eastern tones enter over the top and the group move this out into a very intriguing variant on itself.
Don't look down
This has a noisy, yet mellow approach, with chirping sounds of melody serving as the sparse backdrop for the vocals. It kicks in to a more full arrangement after a minute or so like this. This takes on almost Yes-like structures on the outro, but otherwise doesn’t wander far from the more filled out version of itself.
Freak of chance
I can hear Discipline era King Crimson on this, mixed with Patti Smith and other “stream of consciousness” vocal delivery acts. They power it out to more hard-edged (and rather mainstream) motifs after the first verse. This has a bit of a psychedelic texture. They shift out from there into a pretty pure King Crimson-like jam – again from the Discipline era. It moves back to the opening elements as they carry forward. It turns quite Floyd-like right at the end.
Poetica reprise
This comes in as a noisy, yet sedate and textural piece that has links to modern King Crimson. They bring in percussion and it takes on more of a twisted world music element. This is probably the strangest track on show here. It’s also one of the best. Percussion melds with atmospheric noise music and lyrical progressions in a tapestry that shifts and wiggles around while still maintaining a pretty constant direction.
 
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